At least four people have been arrested for suspected arson in connection with the massive wildfires that have destroyed millions of acres of forest in the western United States.
Michael Jarrod Bakkle of Oregon was arrested on Tuesday, Sept. 8, and jailed “on two charges of arson, 15 counts of criminal mischief, and 14 counts of reckless endangerment,” reported Oregon Live.
Bakkela is allegedly responsible for setting one of the two origins of the Almeda fire that has burned more than 5,700 acres, more than a thousand homes, damaged hundreds of businesses, and left 2,000 homeless. Seven people were found dead and 60 people remain unaccounted in the Almeda fire.
— Noelle Crombie (@noellecrombie) September 11, 2020
Elsewhere, Anita Esquivel, 37, was arrested by the California Highway Patrol for intentionally setting fires on Highway 101, reported KION LosAngeles.
Additionally, the Washington State Patrol reported that it arrested two for setting small fires in dry grass at SR-512 and SR-7.
We got another one! Great job Trooper Morefield. A pedestrian decided to match light the grass at SR-512 and SR-7. Citizen observed and alerted 911. After a short foot chase, one is in custody and on his way to jail. #Justice #Beatrooper @CentralPierce pic.twitter.com/ePJMHU4tUd
— Trooper Ryan Burke (@wspd1pio) September 10, 2020
According to the U.S. Department of Interior, as many as 90 percent of wildfires in the United States are caused by people, and the remaining 10 percent are caused by lightning or lava.
As the origins of some of the blazes gripping the West Coast with death and devastation are still unknown, Democrats continue to lay blame on climate change.
“Mother earth is angry. She is telling us. Whether she’s telling us with hurricanes in the Gulf Coast, fires in the West, whatever it is, the climate crisis is real,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this week on MSNBC.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom went further, using the fires in his state to push for a more aggressive climate change goal. Newsom said California’s goal of using 100% clean energy by 2045 is “inadequate.”
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump, Republicans, and experts point to decades of poor land management.
“You know it is about forest management. Please remember the words, very simple: forest management. Please remember that,” President Trump said at a campaign rally in Minden, Nevada, on Saturday night, Sept. 12.
The president said he had spoken to leaders in Washington, California, and Oregon and planned to visit California on Monday to assess the damage caused by the wildfires.